Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Hixson High School is not only home to wildcats, but also mad scientists.
The school’s Mad Scientist’s Club enrolls 25 students who can create snow, make ink disappear and mixtures explode and perform many other scientific experiments full of learning fun.
“We’ve done experiments with exploding toothpaste, burning money, exploding CO2 rockets, disappearing ink, neon water, color-changing milk, burning balloons and DNA necklaces,” said Advanced Placement Chemistry teacher Christy Varnell.
One fun experiment can be made by using an old film canister and Alka-Seltzer, she said.
“You drop the film canister with the half tablet of Alka-Seltzer in it into a toilet paper roll face down,” said Varnell. “It tears the lid off automatically and shoots into the air.”
A similar experiment club member Robby Touchstone said is fun involves dropping a Mentos inside a 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola. The CO2 reacts with the soft drink and makes the candy shoot out of the bottle.
“I love chemistry now,” said Touchstone, who also discovered that mint-flavored soft drink is “not too bad” after being the one to perform the experiment since others in the class didn’t want to get Coke on them. “Science was one of my good subjects, but now I enjoy it.”
Club member Gabby Varnell said she likes the burning money experiment. To perform that experiment, a dollar is dipped in alcohol using tongs and then lit on fire. The alcohol is supposed to burn off, extinguishing the fire while leaving the money intact.
“We want to build enthusiasm for science instead of letting it be the dreaded subject,” said Christy Varnell. “The Mad Scientist’s Club goes to Ganns Middle Valley Elementary School to build science enthusiasm at the elementary level.”
Due to a grant Hixson High School received, students are supposed to earn 300 service hours each school year. Options for the service hours include participation in the Mad Scientist’s Club, Robotics, Insanity Workouts, Archery Club, Rocket Club and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps teams.
The Mad Scientist’s Club meets most Thursdays from 2:30-3:30 p.m. inside the chemistry labs.